century to protect Cartagena from enemies. Because Cartagena was essentially a storehouse for all the treasures plundered from the 'Indians' until the loot could be sent on a ship to Spain, it was a popular target for thieves. The wall took nearly two centuries to complete because of tropical storms and repeated attacks by pirates. However, once the wall was built, the Old Town has changed little in these couple hundred years, and is still a beautiful city of cobblestone streets teeming with colonial architecture in the form of churches, plazas, and apartments with overhanging balconies decorated in vines.
We decided to spend our time in Cartagena wandering the cobblestone streets, admiring the architecture, and seeing a few of the tourist sites
. We visited first the Palacio de la Inquisition, where the Spanish Inquisition tortured “heretics” in the 17th
century. We also visited the Castillo de San Felipe, built in 1657 to keep out pirates. And finally, the highlight of our trip to Cartagena, we ate the best ceviche of our life at El Boliche Cevicheria, a little hole in the wall we stumbled upon during our aimless wanderings in the Old Town. The place was completely empty when we walked in, save for a mother and father (the owners) and their infant. While the father cooked our food, the mother breastfed her baby at the table next to us. I don’t know what to say about the food except that it was exceptional, and I recommend to anyone heading to Cartagena to find this little gem of a restaurant.
Unfortunately, we were unable to stay into the night, where I have heard the city pulsates with lively salsa clubs, but it was a good introduction into Columbia, and I definitely plan on returning there one day for a longer stay.
On our fifth day of the cruise we arrived in Cartagena, Columbia. Cartagena is famous for being one of the first sanctuaries of freed African slaves in the Americas. The "Historic Old Town", as it is called, is surrounded by Las Murallas, a wall built between the 16